giovedì 24 maggio 2018

The Making of a Fashion Model

Time Odds

On Friday, May 4, 2018 at 23,30 local time (15,00 GMT) North Korea’s clocks moved forward 30 minutes to midnight. Until then, they had been on Pyongyang Time, which was half a hour behind South Korea and Japan. The synchronisation may be regarded as “the first practical step” to speed up the pacification of Korea, the official KCNA news agency said. The picture above shows the light shining on the band of the Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’s Party of Korea Mrs. Kim Yo-jong’s wristwatch. Photo: Seosomun Photo Agency.

Eyes Wide Shut

A young wild owl reacts as it is measured, weighed and ringed in a zoo in Arnhem, Netherlands. Photo: ANP/AFP/Piroschka van de Wouw.

Yes, Edna, people always ask the most embarrassing questions on the elevator

Credit: Disney Store

The fourth floor

In her one-hour talk at the Mechanics’ Institute Library & Chess Room in San Francisco, California, United States four-time Women’s World Chess Champion 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán) mostly spoke about her life, which was currently split between studies and chess, and answered many questions from a young audience. Both the talk and the Q&A were free and open to the public. A Reddit’s user, dampew, provided her/his paraphrased recap of the Questions&Answers evening. On most chess matters, 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán) would have actually said things quite similar to what she used to say to journals and media worldwide. For instance, asked about her refusal to take part in the Women’s World Chess Championship, she diplomatically said that such a format and system would take her too much time, which she prefers to save for confronting herself in the super-tournaments, where she has the opportunity to improve on her rating and play’s level. Her most “unedited” answer was perhaps that she regards her “尚街杯” (“MEWE Cup”) 2017 World Champion Summit Chess Match with Vassily Mykhaylovych Ivanchuk as the toughest match she ever played.

I wonder if anyone can also guess which is his favourite book

mercoledì 23 maggio 2018

Life of Pi

London, United Kingdom: A T-Rex is seen on the River Thames to celebrate the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Photo: David Taylor/Rex/Shutterstock.

Эдна Мод

Artwork © Дэбс (Debs)

Dynamics of non-vertical lines

A woman rides an escalator as another woman walks by in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: AFP/Martin Bureau.

神州行 (Easyown)

Valentina Evgenyevna Gunina – 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn)
14th “映美杯” (“Yìng Měi Cup”) Chinese Chess League; 南京 (Nánjīng), May 23, 2018
Russian Defence C42

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. c4 Be7 6. d3!? Nf6 7. d4 0-0. Or 7. ... d5 at once, transposing into the Exchange Variation of the French Defence. 8. Nc3 d5. Just the same. 9. Bd3 dxc4 10. Bxc4 Nc6!? Better is 10. ... Bd6! 11. h3 h6! 12. a3 Bf5 with a very comfortable game for Black, de la Bourdonnais – MacDonnell, London 1834, match game 44. 11. h3 Na5 12. Bd3 Be6 13. 0-0 h6 14. Re1 c5 15. Bc2 Nc6 16. Be3 Qa5? A big tactical error that loses the Exchange for no good reason. 16. ... b6 looked like nothing special for White. 17. d5! Rfd8 18. Bd2! The pointe. 18. ... Nxd5 19. Nxd5 Rxd5 20. Bxa5 Rxd1 21. Raxd1 Nxa5 22. Be4 Bf6 23. b3 c4 24. bxc4 Bxc4 25. Bd5 Rc8 26. Bxc4 Nxc4 27. Rd7 Rb8 28. Rc1 Nb6 29. Rd3 g6 30. Nd2 Kf8 31. Ne4 Be7 32. Nc5 Rc8 33. Rdc3 Rb8 34. Kf1 Ke8 35. Ne4 h5 36. Rd1 Kf8 37. Rdd3 Ke8 38. Rc7 Na8 39. Rc2 Nb6 40. Ke2 Kf8 41. Kf3 Ke8 42. g3 Kf8 43. h4 Kg7 44. Rd4 Kf8 45. Ng5 Nc8 46. Rcd2 Nb6 47. a4 Rc8 48. Kg2 Rc5 49. f4 Rc7 50. Kh3 a5 51. Rb2. Stockfish evaluates 51. f5! gxf5 52. Rf2 Bc5 53. Rxf5 Bxd4 54. Ne6+ Ke7 55. Nxc7 Nxa4 56. Rxa5 as a much better winning path for White. That said, it’s true that Gunina delays too much in mobilising her Pawn majority on the Kingside. 51. ... Bb4 52. Rd8+ Ke7 53. Rg8 Nxa4. Now, Black’s two passed united Pawns on the Queenside become telling, and finally, after much striving, 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) can claim a compensation. 54. Re2+? This only helps Black in her long march towards the promised land. Much better was 54. Rf2 soonly followed by f4-f5. 54. ... Kd6 55. Rg7 Nc3 56. Re5 Nd5 57. Rg8 Kc6 58. Rd8 Nc3 59. f5 Kb6

60. Ra8. 60. Nxf7! gxf5! 61. Rxf5 a4∞ was quite unclear, but probably less dispersive than the text. 60. ... a4 61. g4? White was still in time for 61. Nxf7(!). Gunina’s continuous losses of time ended up putting her into a lost position. 61. ... a3 62. Nxf7? Now this is objectively wrong, but at least succeeds in unbalancing 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn). Anyway, other moves would not have probably prevented Black from making gradual progress towards a win. 62. ... hxg4+? This zwischenzug check turns out to be a cruel fata morgana. Simply 62. ... Rxf7! 63. fxg6 Rf8 would have lead to an easy win. 63. Kxg4 gxf5+. Now, if 63. ... Rxf7 64. fxg6 Rf8 then 65. Rea5! Bxa5 (with the King on h3, Black could give a deadly check at f3: ... Rf8-f3+) 66. Rxf8 a2 67. Rf1 Nb1 69. g7 with a likely draw. 64. Rxf5 a2 65. h5 Rc8 66. Rf6+ Kc7 67. Ra7 Kb8 68. Rxa2 Nxa2 69. h6 Bc3 70. Rg6 Rc4+ 71. Kh3 Rc5 72. Nd6 Bd2 73. Kg4 Bxh6 74. Rxh6 Rc6 75. Kf5 Nc3 76. Ke5 Ka7 77. Rh7 Rc5+ 78. Ke6 Nb5 79. Rxb7+ Ka6 80. Rxb5 ½ : ½.

居文君 (Jū Wénjūn). Photo:

Valentina Evgenyevna Gunina. Photo:

Edna, I guess you have to convince the Pixar guys to re-write the screenplay completely, so as to make it more suitable to my mood

Artwork © A. J. Pozo

martedì 22 maggio 2018

Footprints on the Moon

From left: Silvia Bertini, Sofia Nutini, and Olga Calamai, ballerinas of Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”, performing Doppio Gioco (Choreography by Alessandra Innocenti) in the 20th International Dance Festival “Vetrina Scuole di Danza AICS” at the Teatro Verdi in Florence on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Photo: Alessandro Botticelli.

And so save the date! The Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s final dance showdown will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at the Teatro SMS of the People’s House in Grassina, starting at 20,45 as usual.

The Queen’s Pawn

居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) – Olga Alexandrovna Girya
 14th “映美杯” (“Yìng Měi Cup”) Chinese Chess League; 南京 (Nánjīng), May 22, 2018
Semi-Slav Defence D44

Say bye-bye to the crown and the royal limousine. 上海 (Shànghǎi)’s Queen, Miss 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn), has already got back to her (hard) daily work in the backwards of the Celestial Empire! 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 dxc4 6. e4 b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Nxg5 hxg5 10. Bxg5 Be7 11. exf6 Bxf6 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 13. g3 Na6 14. Bg2 Bb7 15. Ne4. If 15. Nxb5 then 15. ... 0-0-0 16. Qa4 cxb5 17. Bxb7+ Kxb7 18. Qxb5+ Ka8 19. Qc6+ Kb8 20. Qb5+ Ka8 21. Qc6+ Kb8 22. Qb5+ Ka8 ½ : ½ Obolentseva – Girya, Russian Women’s Cup Final 2016, Khanty-Mansiysk 2016. 15. ... Qe7 16. 0-0 0-0-0 17. h4. The alternative was 17. a4 Kb8 (Kasparov then suggested 17. ... f5! 18. axb5 cxb5 19. Rxa6 Bxa6 20. Nc5 Qxc5! 21. dxc5 Rxd1 22. Rxd1 b4!∞) 18. Qd2 b4 19. Rac1 e5 20. Rxc4 f5 21. Ng5 c5 22. Bxb7 Qxb7 23. Qe3 exd4 24. Qe5+ Ka8 25. Ne6 (Alexander Valeryevich Khalifman recommended 25. Qxf5±) 25. ... Qh7 26. h4 Rhe8 27. Qe2 Rd6 28. Qf3+ Qb7 29. Qxb7+ Kxb7 30. Nxc5+ Nxc5 31. Rxc5 d3 32. Rd1 Re2 33. Rb5+ Ka6 34. Rxb4 d2 35. Kf1 Rde6 36. Kg2 Rd6 ½ : ½ Kasparov – Smyslov, Candidates Final, Vilnius 1984, match game 5. 17. ... c5 18. a4 Rxd4 19. Qe2 b4 20. Rad1 Qc7 21. Ng5! This seems stronger than 21. Rc1 which yet gave White the win, but only after many complications that Black might have handled better: 21. ... Bd5 22. Nf6 Bxg2 23. Kxg2 e5 24. Ng4 Qb7+ 25. Kh2 f5 26. Qxe5 Qh7 27. Qf6 Rxg4 28. Qxa6+ Kb8 29. Qf6 f4 30. Rfd1 fxg3+ 31. fxg3 Rc8 32. Kh3 Qe4 33. Rd8 Rg8 34. Qd6+ Ka8 35. Qd5+ Qxd5 36. Rxd5 Rgd8 37. Rxd8 Rxd8 38. Rxc4 Rd5 39. Kg4 Kb7 40. h5 Kc6 41. h6 1 : 0 Matlakov – Sandipan, 15th Aeroflot Open, Moscow 2017. 21. ... Bxg2 22. Kxg2 Rhd8 23. Rc1 R8d7 24. Rxc4 Qc6+ 25. Kg1 Rxc4. Probably Black may improve her game somewhere, but it’s not quite so easy to guess how and where. From a human viewpoint, the text makes little sense, as any kind of simplification ends up enhancing the strength of White’s passed h-Pawn. So 25. ... Rd2 appears to be a more lively choice, and it is likely worth further analysis. 26. Qxc4 Nc7. Not 26. ... Qxa4? because of 27. h5 with a win coming soon. 27. Rc1 f5 28. h5 e5 29. Qg8+ Kb7 30. Qg6. Stockfish evaluates 30. Qf8(!) f4!? 31. Qf5 as a more convincing win for White. 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn), however, is eager to make things simpler, even at the cost of renouncing something. 30. ... Qxg6 31. hxg6

31. ... Kb6? Black ought to have played 31. ... Rg7 32. Rxc5 Rxg6 33. Nf7 Ra6 34. a5 which leaves White with much the better game (and possibly an almost won game) that, however, would still have to be won. 32. Nf7 e4? This loses off right, but also 32. ... Ne6 33. Nxe5 Rg7 34. f4 is undefendable. 33. g7 1 : 0.

居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) (right) vs. Olga Alexandrovna Girya (left). Photo:

Don Quixote

An exegi monumentumun is immortalised on the head of a buffalo in Meru National Park in Meru, Kenya. Photo: Tom Stables/Barcroft Images.


A frog shows off a big smile to the camera, perhaps hoping for a princess to kiss. Photo: Artyom Krivosheev/Barcroft Images.

The Importance of Not Being Arcovazzi

A colourful reptile holds up a twig as it is pictured looking like a warrior with a powerful stance. Photo: Anup Deodhar/Barcroft Images.

Pray, Edna, if they should ever ask you insolent questions, don’t start screaming and yelling

Credit: Disney Store

Pas de deux

Two weaver ants, otherwise known as fire ants, dancing together in Batam Island, Indonesia. Photo: Usman Priyona/Barcroft Images.

Bird’s Nest

San José Villanueva, El Salvador: A bird rests on the head of a white-tailed deer. Photo: Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images.

lunedì 21 maggio 2018

Thanks for the talk, Edna

Marc Jacobs coat, blouse, pants, scarf, necktie, gloves, and shoes; Stephen Jones for Marc Jacobs hat. BEAUTY BAZAAR: Victoria’s Secret Color Shine Gloss in Charmed, $12, victoria’s Photo: Victor Demarchelier; Fashion Editor: Joanna Hillman; @Disney/Pixar.

“My views on capes are well-known. Asking me about them is like asking Isadora Duncan how she felt about scarves”.


“I wear myself, dahling. As no one else can”.

Edna Mode

To Be Self-Evident

Michael Kors Collection cape, dress, scarf, tote, and boots. BEAUTY BAZAAR: Moroccanoil Dry Texture Spray, $28, Photo: Victor Demarchelier; Fashion Editor: Joanna Hillman; @Disney/Pixar.

“I am my favourite icon. The why is self-evident”.

Edna Mode

C'mon, Edna, just keep in mind that only one of your smiles can make a blind man see!

Saturday Evening

From left: Viola Rocchini, Letizia Rogai, Silvia Bertini, and Sofia Nutini, ballerinas of Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”, performing Doppio Gioco (Choreography by Alessandra Innocenti) in the 20th International Dance Festival “Vetrina Scuole di Danza AICS” at the Teatro Verdi in Florence on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Photo: Alessandro Botticelli.

This is just a sample, so if you wanna know more about it, you better save the date! The Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s final dance showdown will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at the Teatro SMS of the People’s House in Grassina, starting at 20,45 as usual.

Blinded by Sight

Aurora, ballerina of Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”, performing Blindfolded (Choreography by Chiara Angelini) in the 20th International Dance Festival “Vetrina Scuole di Danza AICS” at the Teatro Verdi in Florence on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Photo: Matteo Bertelli.